Book I, Chapter 15
Despite perceptions to the contrary, the culture of the Norsemen of Berk at the time of Hiccup Haddock was profoundly different than most other Norse and Norse-derived cultures, despite surface similarities. Two of the greatest differences were in the treatment of literacy and the social caste system. Due to the long-simmering social pressures of the Dragon War, Berk had adopted universal literacy as a means for ensuring that critical knowledge would not be lost, and had abandoned the Thrall-Carl-Thane caste system on similarly pragmatic lines.
This, of course, caused significant culture shock to other societies, Norse and otherwise, that encountered them over the remainder of Hiccup Haddock's life, and was instrumental in setting the groundwork for what followed.
— The Second Flowering Of Yggdrasil: An Analysis Of The Norse Resurgence, 1710
Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:
- Assassination Attempt: While Hiccup and Astrid are looking for navigation charts by the docks, a man with a knife tries to kill both of them so that they won't "corrupt [his] king."
- Corrupt Church: Benedict the Ninth is the current pope and even now notorious for allowing corruption in the Catholic Church for the sake of personal profit.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Downplayed. Snotlout finds Hiccup's desire for peace and compromise with Norway needlessly complicated and stifling, his observances on Magnus's castle making him come to the conclusion that they could easily invade the place and claim them as a vassal if they wanted to.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While Snotlout's intentions are not the least bit noble, even he sees the risk in giving Norway access to their dragon-taming abilities.
- Mundane Utility: Scauldrons are used for cleaning dishes.
- Rule of Symbolism: Hiccup's loss against Roald at hnefatafl was because he prioritized protecting his pawns at the expense of the king.